by Michael Clementi, LexJet Experience Center Leader
The first thing anyone asks when it comes to new machines being released into the printer world is: “What’s new?” So we’ll start there. If you are moving up from a prior generation of Epson, the “new” depends on what model you are moving up from, of course, but for this review’s sake, we will stick to comparing the old Stylus Pro 7890, 7900, 9890, 9900 models to the new SureColor P-Series P6000, P7000, P8000, P9000 models.
The new model numbers can throw you a little since they don’t make a numerical correlation from the old ones, so if you’re looking to make a lateral switch, we’ll start with the differences in models. The nine-color models: The Stylus Pro 7890 and 9890 are closest related to the new P6000 and P8000, respectively. The 11-color models: The Stylus 7900 and 9900 are closest related to the P7000 and P9000, respectively. The P6000 and P7000 are the 24-inch models, and the P8000 and P9000 are 44-inch models.
Now, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of the printers performance statistics and notable changes that set the Epson SureColor P-Series at the forefront of image quality and print permanence.
There is not much change in the looks department, as you’ll notice, they look almost identical to the previous models, with the exception of a few changes in color scheme and stickers signifying the different ink and print heads used.
The most significant change is in the guts of the machines. Epson has reformulated a new ink that has now taken print permanence for water-based pigment technology to a higher level. Epson is boasting, with the help of the Wilhelm Imaging Research, of a print permanence up to twice as long as their prior ink set. The Epson UltraChrome® HDX 10-Color pigment inks also promise a better resin encapsulation for higher scratch resistance and deeper black formulation by 1.5 times the prior ink set.
The latest precision core TFP print heads boast an upgraded dot (dithering) pattern for smoother transitions and more accurate dot placement. An onboard timer has also been set so that you can run print head maintenance cycles. This is a big improvement for those who do not have the luxury of being able to maintain the printer while leaving for a trip or just not using it for a couple weeks at a time. Now you can use the timer-based system and tell it to keep the nozzles fresh.
There have also been advances to the coating used on the print heads to make them easier to clean, along with ink encapsulation that has a lesser clogging rate than the previous generation.
We took delivery of our SureColor P7000 at the beginning of November and started our profiling and review of the machine. The most notable benefit of switching or adding one of these to your repertoire is the shear gamut increase the new ink formulation made.
From old to new we measured on the same product a gamut increase of 17.4%. By the naked eye we could definitely see a deeper black and richer reds, but when comparing the gamut on a 3D and 2D map with both profiles of our newly acquired P7000 versus the Stylus Pro 7900 onto our most popular Sunset Photo E-Satin Photo Paper, the visual speaks for itself. The new printer gamut map triumphs over the old in a very uniform fashion, which means Epson has broadened the color spectrum on all corners of the map, not just in certain areas.
Pictured at left is the 2D outline of both gamuts new (*purple) and old (*red), side by side.
It is hard to think that Epson could improve upon what image quality it has built its reputation on. You would have a tough time lining up an old print from the Epson 7900 and nitpick by the naked eye the differences in dot gain and dithering without getting under a loop.
But, if you were gauging the image visually based on depth of color and density, you can definitely point out the old from the new. The colors seem to just jump out from the page. Epson has really hit a homerun with the new ink formulation.
How do you take the previous Epson Stylus Pro Series and make it better with the new P-Series machines? Less user-based maintenance, higher color fidelity and durability and longer-lasting prints. Kudos to Epson for accomplishing all of the above and putting out a very promising machine!
Call us at 800-453-9538 if you have questions regarding the differences in the machines or to find out which printer fits your business model.
About the author, Michael Clementi: Going on 10 years with LexJet, Michael has played an integral part in sales of wide-format printers. Having amassed extensive product and application knowledge, Michael was named the head of LexJet’s “Experience Center” where customers can gain knowledge of wide-format printing with all technologies and applications. He is also a team leader in charge of LexJet’s Tech Support and installation division.